The Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) is a national surveillance system that has been assessing the health and nutritional status of Koreans since 1998. Based on the National Health Promotion Act, the surveys have been conducted by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). This nationally representative cross-sectional survey includes approximately 10 000 individuals each year as a survey sample and collects information on socioeconomic status, health-related behaviours, quality of life, healthcare utilization, anthropometric measures, biochemical and clinical profiles for non-communicable diseases and dietary intakes with three component surveys: health interview, health examination and nutrition survey. The health interview and health examination are conducted by trained staff members, including physicians, medical technicians and health interviewers, at a mobile examination centre, and dieticians’ visits to the homes of the study participants are followed up. KNHANES provides statistics for health-related policies in Korea, which also serve as the research infrastructure for studies on risk factors and diseases by supporting over 500 publications. KCDC has also supported researchers in Korea by providing annual workshops for data users. KCDC has published the Korea Health Statistics each year, and microdata are publicly available through the KNHANES website (http://knhanes.cdc.go.kr).